Held each year in February, the Daytona 500 is the start of the stock car race season. The one who wins this race will go down in the history books, and be known forever as a "Daytona 500 Race Winner".
The 2012 Daytona 500 was scheduled to run February 26th, though history was being made well before the green flag was finally waved.
The biggest hoopla surrounded race car driver, Danica Patrick; only the third woman in history to start in the Daytona 500.
When race day arrived though, more history was to be made. Light rain was falling that Sunday, and though all the pre-race rituals were taken care of, right down to the prayers and national anthem; in the end, the race was postponed until Monday morning. In it's fifty-four year history the Daytona 500 had never been postponed; until then.
That wasn't the end of the history making though. Monday morning came, and went, with more rain, and the race being delayed until 7 pm eastern time. The delay also made history as being the first time the Daytona 500 has ever been held at night.
It seemed like a let down, after the day before, to just have the cars on track, and the race start. No repeat of prayers, or the national anthem, just start the race. Such a grand race and start to a season reduced to a common, ordinary race.
That is, until just before lap two. Elliot Sadler caught the corner of Jimmy Johnson's car, causing Jimmy to spin out, taking other cars with him. Way too early in a five hundred mile race to be racing like that; and several drivers expressed that as well.
As the race went on, the usual things were happening; tagging, drafting, car problems,lead changes, all that. Then, with forty laps to go, the
Usually that statement is made when there's been a major crash, with lots of cars involved. In this case, the "big" one involved Juan Montoya and a jet dryer that was on the track during a caution.
Montoya had been having trouble with his car, had gone in for work, and had just come back on the track from the pits. He was racing around the track to catch up to the rest of the pack, when his car let go and he had no control. As his car slid sideways, it slammed into the jet dryer, setting both vehicles on fire.
Fortunately both Montoya and the driver of the jet dryer were able to get away; though the driver of the jet dryer was flown to a nearby hospital for observation.
When two hundred gallons of jet fuel spills onto a track, and ignites, you can bet it will cause a red flagging of the race! It did; for a couple hours or so, at least. During the red flag, it was stressed several times that neither Montoya, or the driver of the jet dryer had done anything wrong; it was just a fluke accident.
As all the FOX Sports announcers said, in all their years of racing, none had seen a wreck like the one between Montoya and the jet dryer; another first for the history books.
It doesn't end there though. Unlike the old days of racing, today's drivers have more than just a steering wheel at their fingertips while in the car. This was proven in another history making event when driver Brad Keslowski tweeted the first photo of Montoya's wreck, while he was sitting in his race car.
When the race restarted, more history was to be made. The Daytona 500 race day started on a Sunday; was postponed to a Monday; and with 10 cautions, including the red flag, finished on a Tuesday at 1 am eastern time.
When all was said and done, Matt Kenseth was named the 2012 Daytona 500 winner, with Dale Earnhardt and Greg Biffle coming in second and third, respectively.
All in all, quite an eventful show, even if it did take three days to get through it!